Posts tagged planning.
Adaptation forum tbh Feb. 15 in Woods Hole, Mass. I’m going to miss it, blarg!
What’s the best way to use the coastline? Which areas should be protected and which should be built out? Should we use the same principles of urban planning on the oceans? Should states cooperate with each other to decide the answers? Those are some of the questions being answered by people who live along the coasts. A new website brings together all of the different ideas on how to plan and use coastlines, lakes, and oceans.
It’s called the Data Ocean Prototype, and is run by some good folks at Data.gov. I suspect they’ll have sea-level rise maps on there, or at least point to NOAA’s climate portal. Data.gov is one of Obama’s efforts to create more open-source type government platform. It has components in Law, Ocean, Energy, Health, Web Semantics, and Open Data. Really great stuff. From the Ocean’s site:
Under the National Ocean Policy’s Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning , the United States is subdivided into nine regional planning areas. Each region would engage in a collaborative planning effort among Federal, State, and tribal partners who will develop regional goals, objectives, and ultimately regional CMS plans. An integral component of collaborative planning is good data and information on which to inform decisions. Regions compile information on their marine ecosystems, including structure, function, condition, cumulative impacts and services, current and emerging human uses, and projected effects of climate change. The resulting data and maps are made available to any interested party through regional data portals linked to a national information management system. Scientific assessments and decision support tools are then used to visualize and understand the implications of alternative choices for future ocean uses across the planning area. Guided by regional objectives, the resulting regional CMS Plan identifies and maps specific ocean areas most suitable to support different types of human uses while sustaining valued ecosystem functions and services.
See more at Data Oceans
GO GO GO NYC!
Photo of the proposed Cornell-Technion NYC Engineering Campus from the Cornell University Facebook page
Honestly, how cool would it be to take the tram to class every day?
Officials prepare mass graves as nearly 700 dead in Philippines floods
Disaster agencies on Monday delivered body bags, food, water, and medicine to crowded evacuation centres in the southern Philippines as officials ordered the digging of graves to prevent disease after hundreds died from flash floods.
The national disaster agency said 684 died after Typhoon Washi slammed ashore in Mindanao island while residents slept at the weekend, sending torrents of water and mud through riverside villages and sweeping houses out to sea.
The Philippine National Red Cross put the toll at 652 killed and more than 800 missing. The casualties far exceeded the 464 people killed in 2009 when a tropical storm dumped heavy rain on the main Luzon island, inundating nearly the entire capital Manila.
“Consider it a taste of the future: the fire, smoke, drought, dust and heat that have made life unpleasant and dangerous from Louisiana to Los Angeles. New records tell the tale: the biggest wildfire ever recorded in Arizona (538,049 acres), the biggest fire ever in New Mexico (156,600 acres), and the all-time worst fire year in Texas history (3,697,000 acres).
The fires were a function of drought. By the end of the summer, 2011 was the driest year of the 117 years on record for New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana, and the second driest for Oklahoma. Those fires also resulted from record heat. It was also the hottest summer ever recorded for New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, as well as the hottest August ever for those states.
Virtually every city in the region experienced unprecedented temperatures, with Phoenix, Arizona, as usual, leading the march towards unliveable conditions. This past summer, the so-called Valley of the Sun set a new record of 33 days when the mercury reached a shoe-melting 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. (The previous record of 32 days was set in 2007.)
And here’s the bad news in a nutshell: If you live in the Southwest or just about anywhere in the American West, you or your children and grandchildren could soon enough be facing the “Age of Thirst”, which may also prove to be the greatest water crisis in the history of civilisation. No kidding.
If that gets you down, here’s a little cheer-up note: The end is not yet nigh.
In fact, this year the weather elsewhere rode to the rescue, and the news for the Southwest was good where it really mattered. Since January, the biggest reservoir in the United States, Lake Mead, backed up by the Hoover Dam and just 30 miles southwest of Las Vegas, has risen almost 40 feet. That lake is crucial when it comes to watering lawns or taking showers from Arizona to California. And the near 40-foot surge of extra water offered a significant upward nudge to the Southwest’s water reserves.
The Colorado River, which the reservoir impounds, supplies all or part of the water on which nearly 30 million people depend, most of them living downstream of Lake Mead in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Tijuana, and scores of smaller communities in the US and Mexico.
Back in 1999, the lake was full. Patricia Mulroy, who heads the water utility serving Las Vegas, rues the optimism of those bygone days. ”We had a fifty-year, reliable water supply”, she says. “By 2002, we had no water supply. We were out. We were done. I swore to myself we’d never do that again.”
In 2000, the lake began to fall - like a boulder off a cliff, bouncing a couple of times on the way down. Its water level dropped a staggering 130 feet, stopping less than seven feet above the stage that would have triggered reductions in downstream deliveries. Then - and here’s the good news - last winter, it snowed prodigiously up north in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The spring and summer run-off from those snowpacks brought enormous relief. It renewed what we in the Southwest like to call the “Hydro-Illogic” cycle: when drought comes, everybody wrings their hands and promises to institute needed reform, if only it would rain a little. Then the drought breaks or eases and we all return to business as usual, until the cycle comes around to drought again.
So don’t be fooled. One day, perhaps soon, Lake Mead will renew its downward plunge. That’s a given, the experts tell us. And here’s the thing: the next time, a sudden rescue by heavy snows in the northern Rockies might not come. If the snowpacks of the future are merely ordinary, let alone puny, then you’ll know that we really are entering a new age.
And climate change will be a major reason, but we’ll have done a good job of aiding and abetting it. The states of the so-called Lower Basin of the Colorado River - California, Arizona and Nevada - have been living beyond their water means for years. Any departure from recent decades of hydrological abundance, even a return to long-term average flows in the Colorado River, would produce a painful reckoning for the Lower Basin states. And even worse is surely on the way.
Just think of the coming Age of Thirst in the American Southwest and West as a three-act tragedy of Shakespearean dimensions.”
The Age of Thirst: Act I
2010 Spike in Greenland Ice Loss Lifted Bedrock, GPS Reveals
“An unusually hot melting season in 2010 accelerated ice loss in southern Greenland by 100 billion tons — and large portions of the island’s bedrock rose an additional quarter of an inch in response.
That’s the finding from a network of nearly 50 GPS stations planted along the Greenland coast to measure the bedrock’s natural response to the ever-diminishing weight of ice above it.
Every year as the Greenland Ice Sheet melts, the rocky coast rises, explained Michael Bevis, Ohio Eminent Scholar in Geodynamics and professor in the School of Earth Sciences at Ohio State University. Some GPS stations around Greenland routinely detect uplift of 15 mm (0.59 inches) or more, year after year. But a temperature spike in 2010 lifted the bedrock a detectably higher amount over a short five-month period — as high as 20 mm (0.79 inches) in some locations.
In a presentation December 9 at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Bevis described the study’s implications for climate change.
“Pulses of extra melting and uplift imply that we’ll experience pulses of extra sea level rise,” he said. “The process is not really a steady process.”
Because the solid earth is elastic, Bevis and his team can use the natural flexure of the Greenland bedrock to measure the weight of the ice sheet, just like the compression of a spring in a bathroom scale measures the weight of the person standing on it.”
Source: Science Daily
Skyscrapers, it seems, save 21 blocks and use less than one block.
Most skyscrapers are designed to incorporate multiple uses, generally stacked on top of one another. Historically, towers included retail on the lower levels and either residential or commercial space above. Today’s tall buildings often host all three. Less than half of the 100 tallest buildings in the world are solely office properties. The footprint of a typical 1.3 million-square-foot mixed-use skyscraper covers 60 percent of the average New York City block. The same amount of mixed-use space spread over a suburban setting of strip malls, quarter-acre building lots, and open parking would sprawl across the equivalent of more than 21 New York City blocks.
There are major merits to the construction of skyscrapers over sprawled development, but never forget that the destruction of human scale environments can occur vertically just as it can horizontally.
Looking for examples of things that Libyans got right during the war this year? Oil-industry Infrastructure protection makes the list. Neither the opposing combatants on the ground, nor NATO in the sea and sky, seemed to want to risk damaging Libya’s prospects for future oil flow.
On the NYT,…
From the excellent climate blog, The Cost of Energy:
” Take the average amount of water flowing over Niagara Falls in a minute. Now triple it. That’s almost how much water power plants in the United States take in for cooling each minute, on average.
In 2005, the nation’s thermoelectric power plants—which boil water to create steam, which in turn drives turbines to produce electricity—withdrew as much water as farms did, and more than four times as much as all U.S. residences.
It requires more water, on average, to generate the electricity that lights our rooms, powers our computers and TVs, and runs our household appliances, than the total amount of water we use in our homes for everyday tasks—washing dishes and clothes, showering, flushing toilets, and watering lawns and gardens.
Power plants across the country contribute to water stress.
This tremendous volume of water has to come from somewhere. Across the country, water demand from power plants is combining with pressure from growing populations and other needs, and is straining our water resources—especially during droughts and heat waves.
For example, the 2011 drought in Texas created tension among farmers, cities, and power plants across the state. At least one plant had to cut its output, and some plants had to pipe in water from new sources.
The state power authority warned that several thousand megawatts of electrical capacity might go offline if the drought persists into 2012.
Analysis to help make water-smart energy choices.
This report—the first on power plant water use and related water stress from the Energy and Water in a Warming World initiative—is the first systematic assessment of both the effects of power plant cooling on water resources across the United States, and the quality of information available to help public- and private-sector decision makers make water-smart energy choices.
See the page above for links to the freely downloadable, 62-page report and more on the Energy and Water in a Warming World initiative.
Source: The Cost of Energy
“On November 1st, several UN entities issued a “Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability,” which highlights the role of oceans in sustainable development and offers recommendations ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
The Blueprint provides an overview of the threats faced by the oceans, including unsustainable use, deforestation of mangroves, disappearance of coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate change. It also highlights the role of oceans in regulating the climate, contributing to food security, and sustaining livelihoods.
Among the measures proposed by the Blueprint are:
- Creating a global blue carbon market as a way of creating direct economic gain through habitat protection
- Promoting research on ocean acidification
- Increasing institutional capacity for scientific monitoring of oceans and coastal areas
- Reforming and reinforcing regional ocean management organizations
- Promoting responsible fisheries and aquaculture
- Strengthening legal frameworks to address aquatic invasive species
- Enhancing coordination, coherence and effectiveness of the UN system on ocean issues.”
““Urbanized” is less focused on the history of cities than on the way they are adapting to the challenges of the present and future, notably climate change and population growth. This slant leaves some inevitable gaps — the David-and-Goliath battle between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs is mentioned, but important earlier figures like Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted are not — and there is a distinct bias in favor of Jacobs-influenced new urbanism and against other approaches to city planning.”